The correct soil for roses is a critical part of making sure that your garden thrives.
The soil is considered the area about 18 inches around and 18 inches deep of the plant in question. This is the dirt you need to work with and be aware of!
Just like the climate, the composition of your garden earth while be key in understanding what types of plans will grow there. Clay, sandy, organic and rocky are all types that you might encounter in different areas of the country. Clay tends to hold water much like a clay pot and thus may give you issues with watering.
Sandy is the opposite, with too much drainage. Rocky or desert types are tough to work with, as there usually isn’t enough organic “meat” in the soil for the plant roots to hold onto. Pure organic is usually the best shape but even then may need to be adjusted for the pH. See below on the adjustments for that. An ideal mixture would be about half organic with the rest a mix of clay, sand, and some stones. You should have worms and have the dirt be flexible but not hard and have proper drainage.
Once of the key indicators that can show if an area is good for rose gardening is the pH. With all of these types, its good if you can get an idea of the pH from a local grower or, even better, get a sample from your own garden.This is a chemical factor that shows how acidic your dirt is. Its a scale from 1-14, with lower numbers being more acidic Perfectly balanced is 7.0; water is usually right around 7.0 depending on any impurities or chemicals in it.
Most roses need a pH level of 6.5 to grow well. Adding organic matter like mulch will generally lower the pH. If you are in one of the rare areas where you have alkaline levels, you can add limestone or calcium carbonate to help out. In most cases, though, you will want to pile on the organic stuff (mulch, compost, manure, etc…) Its hard to have too much.
In some cases you may need to use a fertilizer. This is generally because certain elements are missing in the soil for some reason.
You should remember to turn and aerate your whole garden once a year. Use a pitchfork to work the dirt 18 inches away from your plants, being careful not to damage the roots.
If you are unsure of what type of soil for roses you have, you can always just purchase a few bags from the local nursery to get things going. If you are looking to till a big garden, it may not be the most cost effective option.